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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  September 21, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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inspirational to them and to us. senator goodwin, i turn the gavel over to you. >> senator hagen. >> i am thrilled that you had been nominated. i cannot think of anyone more qualified than you. i wanted to say thanks again to your wife, bonnie, up 40 years, and jamie and mali and charlie. healing your family have committed so much, and night -- you and your family have committed so much and i am proud of you. i am proud of our marines, especially their brilliant execution in iraq and afghanistan.
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north carolina as honor does the second marine expeditionary force and the special operations command. our marines have led the way in afghanistan. specifically the helmand and kandahar provinces. i look forward to working with you one of water contamination issues, if an issue that i am committed to. they affect and the marines and our families need closure. what i'm going to ask you a first is the increase of demand for amphibious forces capable of conducting security cooperation, regional deterrence, and crisis response such as the july 2006 non-combat an evacuation operation in lebanon. this need for increased amphibious capability is
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emerging in the wake of geopolitical strategic uncertainties, if increase challenges to it assets. the requirement for amphibious ships agreed upon between the department of navy concerned eighth ships, but risk was accepted in reducing the fleet to 33 ships. my understanding is that we're currently down that 31 amphibious ships, with that number possibly falling even lower. as commandant of the marine corps, are you concerned that further degrading amphibious capabilities may be imprudent, and what capabilities might be lost? >> thank you for the opportunity to talk about something that has been my life for the last quarter years. -- the last four years.
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the amphibious ship is in my estimation the most utilitarianism vessel that is offload in the united states navy. you can do combat all of that ship, you can do humanity and in -- humanitarian assistance. when the terrible earthquake happen in haiti, 7 and navy ships went to the rescue. when the port was completely clock in the air field was a mess with airplanes and you could not get supplies in and out, those seven amphibious ships pulled off the coast, and out of them, both the helicopters and our seaborne craft, they came marines and sailors and engineers and equipment and water and medical supplies. they were there for over 45
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days providing command and control, providing capabilities, bringing haitians out to our ships. there is a great example. what the people do not resist richard remember is when katrina hit. -- what most people do not remember is when katrina head. we loaded equipment, we loaded bulldozers, front-end loaders, seven-ton trucks, water, food, communications equipment's. we just put marines on their ships along with sailors, and what's katrina pass through, one of those ships pulled into new orleans and provided the central command and control in the early stages of the aftermath of katrina.
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those amphibious ships pulled them off the coast of louisiana and mississippi and send out their marines with those tractors and vehicles and they came across the beaches that were otherwise on accessible. you know what is happening right now and pakistan with the three amphibious ships there. not only flying at -- combat afghanistan, but also relief operations in northern pakistan all the way up. and then they take one of their ships to take down the magellan star. they rescued the crew from the somali pirates. we just want the 26 marine expeditionary unit, one of years from north carolina, they left a month early to say all and get off the coast to pakistan. they should be there by the end of this month.
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there's a further testimony to the fact that the utilitarian value of these ships. not only in these marine expeditionary unit are they the label, but they can pull off and operate all of africa with what we call the security and cooperation mission. they can bring medical, it is a one-stop shopping operation. i think the value of the ship is absolutely paramount. the secretary of navy believes in them. you're absolutely correct. we have agreed to deep fiscal constraint of 33 ships. everything we do now is informed by the budget and and and you appreciate that. we're sitting at 31 ships. we're going to go down over the next couple of years. but as we look at the fiscal defense planning effort, by the end of that, by that time we hit 2016, which should be back
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at 33 ships. some will be brand spanking new. it is what we have agreed to over the next force structure review. >> i wanted to ask about at the wounded warriors. one of my priorities is to ensure that wounded warrior programs across the services effectively assist our wounded warriors to reintegrate into their operational units, transition to another military occupational specialty, or transition to our productive civilian life. i know that the marine corps is wounded warriors programs have played a vital role. what your thoughts on the long- term needs and requirements for the wounded warrior regimen? >> my personal opinion on both wounded warrior regiment and the
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whole approach has been taking care of our wounded and ill and injured, we put our arms around all of them. i think it's become legendary. i think it was prescient. it was something that came in its time. i was speaking to groups on saturday night that the marine museum that had raised money to care for the families of our wounded warriors. and i like in the evolution of how we started this war in 2003 to where we are today as building an airplane while it is in flight. we were not sure what all the requirements work, but over time we have gotten to battalions. it is one of the greatest success stories coming out of this war. my sense is that it will be around for a long time.
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i'm having a hard time envisioning when we will not need this. i think the wounds of this war will be with us for a while, even if we stop and get all skill at of afghanistan. the wounds of this war will be there for a while. they will need to care. we also have the typical things like cancer, accidents, tragedies that happened, and that is the ill and injured that find their way into the wounded were battalion in their care. the second reason is that the world that we live in is going to require marines to live and some of the most nasty places for the bidding of our nation. we will have wondered marines for the decades to come. they will need a place to go and refit and rearm. imagine that care for them. i just talked about that.
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i think is absolutely first rate. we have an effort underway to change -- help them re-enter grade in the marine corps, change their military occupational specialty, and most of the young men -- you have met them in the hospital, the very first thing that they say is that they want to get back to their unit. that is the first order of business. during her recovery, the second pieces, now that it looks like i am a covered, i want to get back to being an infantryman. in some cases they may not be able to. in most cases, we were deliberately to try to help them move into other military occupation specialties. it takes a while for them to get to the point where they're willing to do that. and lastly, the matriculation back into civilian society. i know that you know this. we worked hard, we are plugged
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into industry, we're plug to into people that want to hire wounded warriors. i was sitting there on saturday night with a major defense industry corporation. a retired marine there was employed and they just hired 32 of our wounded marines. that type of effort is going on across our country. that is great news. >> i want to thank you for your service. i looked bored your confirmation. >> senator chambliss. >> general amos, thanks to you and your family for your commitment to freedom and democracy. your nomination to be the next commandant speaks to that commitment as well as your leadership to our nation. we're very appreciative and i want to publicly thank the current common dog, general conway, who has been a great asset not to the marine corps
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only but to our nation. his 40 years of service, and that two of you, thanks for what you do every day. i intended to ask you about the resources, but as you know, we had -- we're very proud to have the marine corps located in our state, and the facility. that relationship is unparalleled. i think you address that resources you. i am not one to get to that. i want to ask you about this deadline. i'm confused about your answer to that. i frankly think it is a huge mistake to have that deadline out there. just like senator mccain, i think it alerts our enemy that they can sit back and wait on us. i understand you are saying that just because you support the july 1 with drawl, that in
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august and september, it the bad guy raises as head of marine is going to be there to take off. but that is what confuses me. why do we want to tell them that we're going to even begin withdrawing in july, if in fact we're going to be there in august or september or even in 2012 it if need be? >> senator, i cannot speak for the president. he is my commander in chief and he has made the announcement in his three confirmed dead. my sense is that the leadership of the department of the defense, the leadership of our combat and command, the leadership on the ground in afghanistan has given me -- has confirmed to meet that they are confident that the right decision will be made. the top of warfighting decisions
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that commanders -- only commanders on the ground have access to the full situation. i am confident in the abilities of david petreaus and others. i believe in our secretary defense. i know he is our best interest at heart. nowhere have i seen a deadline tacked on to the backside of the july 2011 announcement. no date that the last service man or woman will be out of afghanistan. i am led to believe and i will be encouraged that this is not a precipitous cliffs. july 2011 is not a cliff that we fall off of. it will be a type of gradual decline. i cannot speak to what that decline will look like or how rapid the decline will take place, i just go back to the fact that the commanders on the ground to know best are going to have a great amount of say about where our forces come out, at
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what rates, or were they need to be realigned. that is where i fall in on this. >> are you confident that beginning july 2000 first cut to douse a loving, that what role race will be dictated by conditions on the ground? >> i believe first of all the president said a withdrawal will begin. when the president speaks, there will be a withdrawal that will take place. what that will look like, i do not know. but to enter your question specifically, i am confident that the leadership will make the best decisions. we paid a price for this. they're young men -- the lives of young men and women that we've lost in that country predicament is on the ground have knowledge of that and it will not what those lives go in vain. i am confident that the leadership will have a direct input on this, senator.
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>> switch gears for just a minute. your background is in aviation. how comfortable are you with the 2012 base for the f-35 be. what the possibilities that that ioc date is not achieved? this program since its birth. i've been the deputy commandant of aviation as we made the decisions to buy the joint strike fighter, skip a generation of airplanes, and take a procurement holiday while we waited for the joint strike fighter. it is an exciting time for us. there are five record joint strike fighters in line over maryland right now going to test and evaluation. all the testing that has to take
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place for an airplane or a new weapon system, they are there now. indications they are behind on the test schedule, if not a lot, but the airplanes themselves are flying very well. our ioc in december 2012 will give us 10 airplanes, and will give us the air crew that are combat ready and ready to deploy. when you think about what that would mean to our nation, to have this. first degeneration fighter attack airplanes in our inventory, ready to deploy, should something happen, it is pretty significant. the marine corps is holding firm on maintaining that 2012 december ioc. if the ioc slides to the right, then it will slide to the right and we will still have an ioc somewhere, not too many months after that, that we end up with
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a 10-plane squadron of his generation aircraft ready to deploy anywhere in the world. i think it is important to our international partners. we're partnered with italy and spain and great britain on the stovl variant which the marine corps will be flying. our ioc gives them great -- it encourages them and shows them a record of progress. i think it is pretty important that we maintain that if at all possible. >> you aviators in the marine corps have been very patient. we have experienced as policy makers the same frustrations you have experienced with this program, but hopefully we are on track and we will see that 2012 i ok date a reality, because we know the value of this weapon system to your inventory and how much it will mean to you as we
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go down the road. thanks very much for your service and look board to your confirmation. >> thank you, senator. >> senator burris. >> congratulations to you, general amos. earliest this year during a trip to san diego, had the opportunity to visit the marine corps station at miramar. i went to the recruit the above. that and forced my intense respect for the men and women who serve as marines. based upon the exceptional career, i am confident the president has made this right choice. how like to thank you personally for your continued service and dedication to our great nation. it is men like you that make this nation great.
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i am pleased to extend my appreciation to your wife and your family for what she does to support the marine spouses. mr. chairman, i have a couple of questions of want to submit for the record. i am very concerned on the position on don't ask, don't tell. please let me understand that your position that you individually do not support the statute change, is that correct? >> senator barrettes, i do not because i will represent those young men and women to wear this uniform. i do not know it yet what the impact on unit cohesion will be. i do not know yet what the impact on recruiting and retention will be in our combat readiness. there is nothing more intimate
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in live and combat. i have a bunch of questions and that is why i said what i said. >> you are born in 1947? >> i was born in 1946. >> you are 1 years old when the president truman issued an executive order integrating our armed services. at that time, we had segregated forces, regimented troops, and my knowledge of people who served in spite of racism, i remember my uncle's and my uncles-in-loss, going off to war in world war ii, and talking about their limited experience
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in racism that existed in the military. but they were willing to fight and die for this country. opposition to you is that there are individuals who happen to be of another cassation called gay or lesbian that are just as dedicated to this country and conserve it valiantly and well we have thousands of them that continue to serve. because of my position on this issue, i have had people coming people come up to me and said they want to go into the military but it would be a hassle because of their sexual orientation. i know that you are
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inexperienced lawyer and a dedicated military man. i respect your views. -- you are an experienced warrior and a dedicated military man. but we must not limit the opportunity for a dedicated american, regardless of his or her sexual orientation, to serve this country if they wanted. general, they make the marines better, which might be hard to do. what is your comment? >> sir, it had become the 35th commandant, i will have responsibility -- >> we're going to make you that commandant. >> i would be responsible for every small part of american society. people who want to be a marine,
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and second of all, those or physically and mentally qualified. >> there is no way in the world i could've gone to the strain that i saw those young kids did, they make them train even though they are tired, and the trainer said, in combat you cannot get tired. you never know when that an ounce of energy will be needed to save yourself and your partners. i saw them crawl on the ground, role on the ground. i cannot do that when i was 2430. i was a bad little guy in my days and i could not handle it. >> those of those same wonderful men and women, the sons and daughters that the parents of our country belong to us -- loan to us. and we work hard to train them into the fearless young men and
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women that will give their lives for one another in a tough situation in a place like afghanistan. >> pulse of for one day and i made a mistake with the marine recruit. one gentleman was in civilian clothes. i said, your and ex-marine? i made the biggest mistake of my life. you do not call marine and ex- marine. he said, once a marine, always a marine. >> sir, you're absolutely correct. you are always simmering. campaign to get that word out of the lexicon. you are marine forever. >> i heard general webb question
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you. i know you cannot comment on that, but given the fact that you are first in battle, that you're ready for the call as you stated, you are ready to go. at the ines are th point that should be the department of the navy and marine. gentleman, keep in mind that we need to have the best in the broadest and opportunity always to serve not. i know that you will follow the policy in the law that this change. there is no question about that. maybe we will have a chance to talk about this privately.
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for a person who's understood what racism and sexism as an. i fought this in my state for those persons or different persuasions and sexual orientation. they need the same opportunities, the same commitment to serve as anyone else. >> sir, thank you for your high regard for the marine corps. you have made my day. that will give me through the rest of the day. >> it brings tears to my eyes, because when you set that -- i was at certification -- ellis of walter reed, i said, you've been discharging what you wanted he said he wanted to go back into in his unit. i just cried like a baby. i cannot believe that that is the commitment the u.s. train those young men and women to have. god bless you and thank you for protecting us, general. >> thank you, senator. >> general, take you for being
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here. thank you t bonnie and your family for the sacrifices that they may. those who stand beside s often pay a heavier price than those to get the opportunities serve and we're grateful to your family and grateful to you for all of the years that you serve this country. i want to pick up on the topic the macaulay's in georgia discussed with you, the f-35 in the delivery of it. we're proud to have the marines in florida, not as much of a presence in other states, but we do some of the refurbishing work figure referred to, and also coming to the f-35 and the training for one squadron of military aviators. i'm concerned about the f-35. we're happy to be doing the training in florida, but this program, this plane is taken on all along time to develop an it has been over budget and continues to be delayed.
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if we do not meet the delivery dates, what impact what that have on your community? will that put you in any type of strategic predicament if these plans do not come on time and do not come at a rate that you need to be able to use them? >> faq for having a real sense for understanding what the issues are here. it's exciting and we're looking forward to delivering the first airplanes and down there. they're building a great team. if the ioc moves to the right, and if it does, i do not know that it will or not, their discussions going on right now. i am not privy to them but i have heard that. if it moves to the right, it will finally settle on sunday to the right of that, however many months, like the said earlier,
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not too many. but in the meantime, the marine corps set out just about 67 years ago to take a look at our strike fighter is that we currently have. how did we manage that? how did we manage a total flight hours on their airplanes to sustain their service life? that is what we're talking about. if we have a slide to the right on the joint strike fighter, the western league do not have a slide to the right of our current requirements to reduce airplane squadrons, carriers, all that. but we did their -- several years ago is to mitigate this and to deal sustain this. we began to manage the service life of each one of our airplanes. we've done it with our f-18. we move airplanes around within squadrons based on the numbers of catapults, the number of traps that they have had, the
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number of landings a day of that on carriers. there is a limitation on that. the amount of g-forces pulled on there's airplanes is registered. those are in indication of service life of your plan as well. not to mention the total hours. will we have done is actually move the deck chair, so to speak, on the ship to move look like our airplanes or load g- loaded airplanes to where they can pull more, look catapult and trapped air plans to air carrier squadrons. the short answer is that we can manage that and we're managing it right now. we stood down a couple of squadrons of f-18's not too long ago, and have taken their assets and spread them around to sustain ourselves. we can do this. this is doable.
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>> how long can you do in. >> sir, i will have to come back to you will but the precise as to. we know how long we can do it for. there are other mitigation efforts under way which examines how we can put money into our current fleet of f-18's and extend their life? that analysis is underway. judy if you could supplement that for the record, i have a great concern about this project. we need to get the f-35 out since we have been working on this is 1935. we went to the moon faster than we've built this airplane. thank you for that and look forward to getting there from you. on one shift gears to afghanistan. i do not want to recall the ground that was talked about before. let me ask you some straightforward, simple question. do you think we're winning the war in afghanistan? >> senator, that is probably the question that is the hardest to
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ask. there is not a yes or no. i can i give you that. i can give you a glimpse into portions of what is happening in afghanistan, the marine corps down in regional command center southwest, and helmand province. it sits right on the border, right next to kandahar, as you know. arguably one of the toughest areas of all of afghanistan in the marines are there. if what's the progress personally on my visits. having just talk to the commander on the ground, i could keep you indication after indication where things are actually moving well. let me give you a couple. i talked about the group liberated and now the town is rebuilt, the schools reopened, when the district governor
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walked me into the school house, in the four corners of the room, about one-tenth the size of this hearing room, or four large rugs. the students were in four groups. the proudest he was was when he took me over and put me in front of a bunch of little girls. this district governor and the town which had been ruled and dominated by the taliban was the first female school class and all of helmand province. since then, they have opened up -- in the town of marja, the of opened up to schools to include girls right now. does to the indications that there is positive evidence. things are happening. when i talk to the commander, he said, several months ago when the taliban attack this, they attacked and groups of 15 to 20.
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they were pretty ferocious. we of worn them down now where they do what he calls shoot and scoot operation. freed by, they muscled their a cave -- they stick the muzzle on ak-47 around the building, fire, and renault. there is no major sustained combat operation. the typical thing you see in these villages are the shoot and scoot. we will succeed militarily in the nation of afghanistan. >> is the july 11 -- the july 2011 withdrawal date we talked about, is it harming your mission or the market is in making your mission more difficult? >> i ask that question, and they do not even talk about it. there is no discussion in the helmand province about this
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ignatius -- as this and -- it as an issue. the leadership, the provincial governor of a helmand province, they are dedicated. there's not announce the flinching on this. >> alas question i have for you, and probably deserved a longer answer, but it occurs to me that as an expeditionary force, the marine had been lied on their feet, in and out, try to be first in to secure the beachhead, when the battle, and then be able to move on to the next battle. that seems to be the intention with the counterinsurgency strategy that requires you to go in and work -- seems to be counter to the intention of a counterinsurgency strategy to go in and build local fighting forces. as the commandant, that is something you must think about, the tension between your traditional role in this new way of war fighting. i wonder how you will reconcile
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those competing demands? >> senator, i think the -- when we leave afghanistan, the last thing i would want to see the marine corps do is lose the skills says that we of learned over the last nine years. many of the skill sets, but cultural sensitivity, the importance of language, the ability to work with other nations in some remote areas, they're all things that we'll learn, and we've relearn them. we have done them for over two or 35 years for our history. we are on the land right now. that has happened to us periodically throughout the marine corps. that happened was in korea, if it happened to us in vietnam, it happened to us and france. but we come out and become our nation's crisis response force that has the response capability the rest for too. -- that i referred to.
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i would want to maintain that because as we work with other nations and countries around the world, we're going to do our level best to begin to lighten the marine corps up, and we're going to do our level best to work with our navy brothers to be those for deployed forces ready to do the nation's bidding at a moment's notice. i think we can take the best of what we have learned and hang onto that, and then we will get around to the rest of the business. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you, general, for being here today. allied to begin by reiterating my appreciation to the committee and chairman 11 to have an opportunity to serve the general may be where i was appointed to my position because of that
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death of senator byrd in virginia, regarded as a giant in american history. he served our government for nearly a quarter of its history. a daunting task, one that pales in comparison to the challenges which you see. i'm pleased to have the opportunity to visit would briefly here today. it allows me -- back in july, when the announcement was made, amidst the dozens of calls of congratulations and well wishes, at the chance to have a conversation with a friend and former colleague by the name of robert ferguson, a marine currently serving as the cabinet secretary for the west virginia department of administration, a man who is extremely active in veterans' issues throughout the state of west virginia.
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during our brief conversation, he sent me a simple figured, 32. the marines they had died in that calendar year. it is more troubling given the high numbers of the best ever used. talk to me about the men -- the mental and behavioral challenges facing the men and women in your command as they return from defending our country in places like iraq and afghanistan, and also the distress -- d-stress program. >> thank you for allowing me to address this. of all the things that i spend my time on in the last 25 months, the issue of suicides in our corps, the issue of
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psychological health, boats, probably occupied a clear majority of my time. it lost 32 marines as of this date. that is 32 more marines than we should have lost. the loss 52 last year, a services -- suicides been counted on the calendar year. just looking at this trend going up, it is not a matter of waking up, we were doing things but we have to do them differently. we went to marine noncommissioned officers and said that we need their help. most suicides were young men aged 19-22, white, young enlisted, there were predominately the ones we were losing or e-4 and e-5.
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noncommissioned officers said, let us take this on. we had them help us build the most high impact and most relevant training program for noncommissioned officers on suicide prevention than any in the service to date. i am proud to report you -- i am courage to report to you today that the number of suicides in this year, and noncommissioned officers has dropped -- have dropped markedly. this time last year, we at 37 suicides in the marine corps. we have 32 to date. where are we headed? it is important and we're not done. we have another effort on the way right now to take that same type of high-value or high impact training and put it down to our young e-12 e-3's.
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the same thing for a first lieutenant's unsettling tennis. we're. a bill a separate training program. that is the focus of suicide prevention. we're not done. we're not satisfied. 32 more than we want to have this year and we are determined to bring that number down. you want to make a difference. the d-stress program came out of these noncommissioned officers. i said, it can you give me a suggestion on something that you think might help? looking at the suicides, a lot seemed to have a common denominator of a problem with their relationship with a young woman, could be a white, could be a girlfriend, could be a fiancee, they said, if you need to have relationship hot line. maybe it was, we will let it that and go, don't understand that. but we call it that for about
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six months. we came to the conclusion that what we needed was a hot line that would plug into middle health providers across this nation, that a family member, can a white, a husband, a marine, one of our corps manned or dr. sailors could call, completely anonymously, and get assistance. the beta test is being done at camp pendleton, at miramar, and others. it is in cooperation with our health care provider out there. we have 24 hour hotlines, and we have advertised this now, in the early indications are that is getting traction. when i committed to this committee, i will be a would give you a full report. the whole idea is to provide another avenue to reduce this
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issue of stigma, where a man or woman can pick up the phone and call and talk to somebody, and then get referred to a mental health providers somewhere in the western part of the analysis. it is the referral and follow-up care which is critical imports. there are a host of things that we're doing and would be happy to go with those things with you. >> i appreciate that and your answer. it has been honor for me to preside over your confirmation hearing today. chairman levin has indicated that the commitment on meet as soon as possible at the nomination. i want to wish you well and think you and your family for being here today, and they understand you brought some west virginians with you. they are well behaved. [laughter] the record will remain open for five days of senators wish to
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submit additional questions to you. this hearing is now adjourned. >> naked, sir. -- thank you, sir. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> iran's president said today that he expect international nuclear talks to return it -- to resume. next, howard berman discusses iran's nuclear program. after that, senate debate on the military's don't ask don't tell policy. later, a transportation department forum on the dangers of driving while distracted. and then a white house medal of honor ceremony. on tomorrow morning's "washington journal," we will talk with peter welch about
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credit card fees and regulations. after that, republican representative greg walden on the november elections. the oregon congressman is deputy chairman of the in rcc which oversees house election efforts for republicans. after that, all look at the u.s. foster care system. "washington journal" each morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. later, fbi director and homeland security secretary testifying about terrorist threats. live coverage begins at 10:00 eastern. >> i really underestimated how big the job was. had been a more republican minority whip. i'd jump from minority whip to speaker overnight, and from a minority party that nobody thought would be empowered to leading a wave of 9 million
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votes, the most important increase in american history. >> his tenure as house speaker, the state of american politics today, and a possible 2012 presidential bid, sunday on c- span. >> now an event with howard berman. he talks about iran's nuclear program. this is 30 minutes. >> if i get your attention for a few moments. >> it is really a pleasure to welcome you all here today for one of our more elaborately round tables. i'm especially delighted to introduce the house committee on
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foreign affairs, howard berman. imitation may be the sincerest form of clarity, but washington sincerest form of admiration is noting the ones most cherished qualities in others. our speaker today has the admiration of a remarkably broad spectrum of powerful individuals. an academic from his district told me you was a huge fan, praising him as extremely thoughtful and very cerebral. he -- he's been described as one of the most creative members of the house and one of the clear cited operators in american politics. people who generally describe him as a good friend, it covers all the political spectrum, and he has made contributions from foreign-policy to global health, immigration to intellectual property. chairman berman, who represents
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parts of the sanford and the ballet, has been a public servant for almost 40 years. after graduating ucla law school and working for five years as a labor lawyer, he was elected to the california state assembly in 1973. if in 1974, he became the youngest majority leader in the history of that body, demonstrating the quiet that penetrating political acumen that has characterized his career. it's been a member of congress since 1982, serving on the foreign affairs committee which he chaired since 2008, and the judiciary committee. his time in the house has been a time a significant achievement. he offered amendments that reinvigorate the false claims act, which now protects and incentivizes whistle-blowers. this effort has saved united states government billions of dollars. it's been a consistent innovator on a lottery that
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allows 20,000 people a year to immigrate to the united states, not based on their family ties or their professional skills, but only the burning desire for a better light. it's been a consistent voice on foreign affairs, not only strengthen the u.s.-israel relationship, but important issues on india, pakistan, and other issues. today he speaks about a run. frigid he speaks about iran. -- he speaks about iran. if there is hard work, chairman berman has won the admiration of many in government. he is the conscience and the dad of the california identification -- delegation. howard berman is the consummate. he has passed institutional
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knowledge that is rare these days. that is what is my special pleasure to introduce you to representative howard berman. [applause] >> quite an introduction. thank you. has a look around, i saw some of my friends in the defense contractor community. i was wishing you had not mention my role on the false claims act legislation. [laughter] it is great to be here, john. thank you very much. it is an honor to speak to the middle east program roundtable. i have wanted to do it for a number of reasons.
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sometimes less frequently than at other times, but since we first came to congress, the long relationship with c s i s is to have these great conferences. i think they became violations of ethics rules or something, but they were wonderful. [laughter] when i did, it was by definition ethical. [laughter] due to china -- we went to china back in the late 1990's, and i have a great regard for the leader of the program. a special appeal was that this particular round table is sponsored by the uae. i have come to have a chance of a the last three years, since i became chairman, to work with
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the ambassador from the uae here today. whenever i think that there are -- there is something inherently -- there will always be a conflict in the middle east and nothing can ever happen, i meet somebody like that and think there is another way. i am honored to be part of his lecture series. i want to vengeance some staff people with me. i have an excellent staff. -- i want to mention some staff people with me. she is back there tending bar. [laughter] and robert over there, he works with me on middle east issues. if-minute talk about a run. -- you have to ask me to talk about iran. and i've become obsessed with that subject. this round table seeks to build
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a greater understanding of the complexities of the gulf region. as we all know, the gulf is not lacking in such complexities. for example, u.s. combat operations in iraq have officially ended, but iraq is struggling to form a government and build this table nation- state l and with a diverse population and a long and contentious history. saudi arabia which possesses much of the world's known petroleum reserves and is accused of turning a blind eye to terrorist financing by wealthy saudis, is led by an 86- year-old monarch's, and its future is clouded by a lack of clarity about secession in the next generation of the royal family. qatar as resources that it has turned into incredible wealth. it maintains strong ties to
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hamas. bahrain struggles with a mixed population and an impressive iranian behavior. yet despite all of these challenges, there is one called country -- iran -- that represents by far the greatest challenge and threat to the cult, israel, the united states, in the international community. prevent iran from requiring a nuclear weapon capability is an absolute necessity for our national interest. as chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, i have made that my number one priority. iran has enough enriched uranium to create two new weapons, and is only when you're away from protecting the necessary technology to build and test and eight of functional bomb. with such capability, iran would be virtually impervious to u.s. and western diplomatic
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pressure, and accordingly could pursue its human rights abuses at home and terrorism abroad with near impunity. her run its terrorist partners as well as hezbollah and hamas would be emboldened. arab states would make new accommodation in order to assure their survival. they could succumb to iranian pressure to reject or rescind the u.s. basing rights, and iran would have greatly increased leverage inside opec to cut back oil production which could lead to massive increases and the price of oil. he could provoke its larger neighbors to pursue their own nuclear weapons program which would especially -- effectively destroyed that program.
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it may even use its armed as an offensive weapon. that last possibility cannot be totally dismissed, especially in the case of regime -- covers seem so ecologically driven and has so little regard for human life that sends thousands of its own children to their deaths as human mine sweepers during the iraq-iraq war. israelis justifiably feared for their future if iran becomes a nuclear weapon capability. we need a solution to this problem and it is important to be a peaceful one. i strongly supported president obama is diplomatic outreach to iran last year. unfortunately, iran did not reciprocate. its recalcitrance like the enrichment facility under way at aom deepened international suspicion of its intentions. we had no choice but to pursue
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are no sanctions. the other options, strikes against iran's nuclear installations or even worse accepting our ran as a nuclear weapon states, are far more risky but potentially dire consequences to u.s. cover regional, and international security and stability. the comprehensive act which passed both houses of congress overwhelmingly and were signed into law by president obama in july 1 is an important contribution to the international effort to ratchet up pressure on the iranian regime. through a variety of measures, it forces banks to choose between the u.s. market and the iranian market. it specifically takes aim at foreign businesses and financial institutions that provide financial services to iranian entities, including the islamic
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revolutionary guard corps veteran ball and terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. additionally, the legislation targets foreign companies that sell her ran refined petroleum or assist iran in developing our maintaining its own refinery capability. .
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albert belle has been met with significant international with jay our bill has been met significant international acceptance. and it now stands united with us in the sanctions effort it is a far cry from the situation woman the first act was passed in 1996. if they have now imposed their own sanctions. virtually every energy company has agreed to see sales of
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petroleum to enron -- to cease sales of petroleum to iran pay th. press reports indicate that sanctions have cut in half by iranian trade with the dubai. south korean sanctions have suspended the operations of the branch in seoul. south korea is iran's fourth trading partner. based on our discussion, the operations in the country have effectively been shut down for good fo.
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these sanctions along with the prohibition and a new investment will deep in the international financial and energy sectors. japan is a major trading partner. i recognize the significant step they are taking. they have fought tooth and nail against these actions. i applaud their determination and courage. i hope other nations involved soon choose to make the same sacrifices for the better good of the international community. everyone's interests are served
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by preventing iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. if they are properly enforced, they will now be essentially unable to purchase a vital part. we have seen numerous reports that they are starting to feel the squeeze. he went into some detail about this in the speech yesterday. it is still early. no definitive conclusions can be drawn. the obama administration appears serious. secretary clinton has appointed it. secretary clinton has appointed
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a serious policy maker. he continues his highly affect them where. -- in his effective work. he warns them about them. earlier this month, they designated the german bank eihm said the few banks shown. the action will isolate eih and the u.s. financial system.
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they may step up sales of refined petroleum. several chinese companies appear to be engaged in sanctioned activity. need to convince them that it is a threat to the stability of energy markets. it is fair to say they may direct efforts to persuade china of that fact. congress will remain deeply engaged. i have established a group that will closely follow sanctions and meet regularly. we are fully committed to making sanctions.
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my goal is not just to squeeze iran's a economy. my goal is to try and create a dynamic to change their mind we want the iranian leadership to conclude that they are not worth the cost. a belief their peaceful means of achieving that goal. if it turns out that they are committed to their nuclear arms program at any cost, we will have to consider the implications of that further down the line. with that, i think i will stop talking. i do not know if there is room in your schedule. >> there is room and our schedule. i a would be delighted if you take questions. we have some head felhand-held microphones. >> i have a little time and not
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a huge amount. >> please come identify yourself. at only one question. -- ask only one question. statement ending what do you think of my statements are not really questions. first question, right over here. >> you talked about how sanctions have been affecteive and peaceful. how much time do they had to succeed? how important is it that the u.s. imposes sanctions on the offending firms? >> first of all, one quick shout
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out to the "financial times." they are a great source of information to me on my different companies are doing. [laughter] that is access to classified information. secondly, i think it is -- i think we are talking months and not years. i think no one expected that a day after the un acted and we acted iran would be shouting "uncle." i am not surprised there has not been any indication. give them what our goal is here, i think it is a matter of months.
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we have to see it working before people lose faith. a key part in making this an effective is what you alluded to. a shame since the eight sanctions regime -- a sanctions breezregime to discover relationships begand that does t lead to sanctions will soon lose. it is essential that investigation begain. it to be taken into consideration. where they do not, sanctions could be imposed but t credibil.
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pence of people expecting that to happen. >> effecwhat is your sense of decision process on the nuclear file? is it in issue of making gestures? are you seeking to influence the president? yardy seeking to influence a group of decision makers? you took the actions to have the desired effect. what is the iranian audience? >> my assumption is that at the end of the day different views and pressures are important.
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it is only the supreme leader that has to give the go ahead. things and not just happen. the tests percuss is about specific things on the ground. it is about the enrichment. it is about allowing them to go to places they are now denied access to prepare -- access to. that is how we know if it is being suspended in terminated. >> it is against the tiny mentioned.
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and what would you say to our friends and i'l-allies they cano that they would be supportive? >> will they get into that? in this venue? by the knowledge that i do not know what the strategy will produce the results. i do not think it makes a lot of sense for me to go often speculate on what those
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alternatives are. any of the other alternatives have serious consequences. only some of which we can imagine. we have to drill down on that. so to speak. >> he mentioned this fiscal -- the despicable human rights effort. what might they speak out about? >> they never once touched on any of the provisions. they are allowing export of
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certain equipment and technologies to the distance to enhance their ability to communicate. it enhances their ability to suppress speech and communication, particularly in the digital world. i think we have an obligation to talk about those issues. the only thing that cost about -- the clock for a change in a
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run is on a fast -- is moving fast enough to resolve the issue. i start from a different premise. whatever i might wish does not matter. i do not see the clock moving that fast. my primary focus is on doing what we can to diminish the possibility of weapon capability. there is some criticism about that.
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i do think it is legitimate to go. careful process of what can we say that can help them be useful. they want to feel we are on their side. >> allied key to take you to love and numb. i want to ask about the aid.
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>> do you plan to lifted? >> the id demonstration has done an interagency read the. they have completed the three the. i want to know about what their review concluded, what our goals are. i did not put on. i am puzzled about what we are seeking to gain.
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walleye have not yet -- i have some appointments, calendar. i've not yet talked with lebanese officials. >> i am very grateful to you for spending time with us and honoring us. thank you all for coming. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> utility to is the moment. all you get to choose is what you do when it does. >> he defends his decision with
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the conservative party. sunday night at 9:00 on c-span. >> coming up tonight, a transportation department forum on the dangers of driving while distracted the white house medal of honor ceremony. them president obama's a choice to head the marine corps. general james amos is questioned about do not ask, do not tell. kucinicthe vote fell short of t0 votes needed to advance legislation. here is a portion of the senate debate. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor to discuss the defense authorization bill and the don't
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ask, don't tell provisions included in it. let me start by making my position crystal clear. i agree with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,dmiral mike mullen, that the don't ask, don't tell law should be repealed. it should be repealed, contingent upon the certain fictions ocertifications of the, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff tt its repeal would not have an adverse impact on military readiness recruitment and retention. and those are, mr. president, exactly the provisions that are included in the defense authorization bill.
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my view is that our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country. the bottom line for me is this. if an indidual is willing to put on the uniform of our country, to be deployed in war zones like iraq and afghanistan, to risk his or her life for our country, then we should be expressing our gratitude to the individuals, not trying to exclude them from serving or expel them from the force. that is why, mr. president,
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during consideration of this bill in may i supported the coromise provisions that were put forth by senatorberman and senator levin. at a previous senate armed services committee hearing, i asked admiral mullen if there were any evidence at all that allowing gay and le lesbian tros to serve had harmed military readiness in those countries that allowheir service now. at least 28 countries, including great btain, australia, canada, the netherlands, and israel, allow open service by lesbian and gay troops. we have no greater allies than great britain, australia, canada, and israel, and none of these countries, not one,
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reports morale or recruitment problems. at least nine of these countries have deployedheir forces alongside american troops in operation iraqi freedom, and at least 12 of these nations are allowing open service and are currently fighting alongside u.s. troops in afghanistan. there's a cost involved in our current policy. according to a 2005 g.a.o. report, american taxpayers spend more than $30 milon each year to train replacement for gay troops discharged under the n't ask, d't policy. the total costs reported since the statute was implemented, according to g.a.o., has been
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nearly $200 million and that doesn't count the administrative and legal costs associatedith investigations and hearings. the militar schooling of gay troops, such as pilot training and linguist training. we are losing highly-skilled troops to this policy. cording to the g.a.o., 8% of the service members let go under don't ask, don't tell held critical occupations defined as serves such as interpreters, 3% had skills in an important foreign language such as arabic, farsi or korean. more than 13,000 troops have been dismissed from the military simply because of their sexual orientation since president clinton signed this law in 1993.
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mr. president, society has changed so much since 1993, and we need to change this policy as well. but let me say, mr. president, that i respect the views of those who disagree with me on this issue, such as the ranking member of the senate armed services committee, senator mccain, and i will defend the right of my colleagues to offer amendments on this issue and other issues that are being brought up in connection with the defense authorization bill, and there are many controversial issues in this bill. they deserve to have a civil, fair and open debate on the senate floor, and that is why i
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am so disappointed that rather than allowing full and open debate and the opportunity for amendments from both sides of the aisle, the majority leader apparently intends to shut down the debate and exclude republicans from offering a number of amendments. this would be the 116th time in this congress that the majority leader or another member of the majority has filed cloture rather than proceeding to the bill under an agreement that would allow amendments to be debated. what concerns me even more is the practice of filling up the amendment tree to prevent republican amendments, and if that is done on this bill, it
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will be the 40th time. now, mr. president, i find myself on the horns of a dilemma. i support the provisions in this bill. i debated for them. i was the sole republican in the committee that voted for the lieberman-levin language on don't ask, don't tell. i think it's the right thing to do. i think it's only fair. i think we should welcome the service of these individls who are willing and capable of serving their country, but i cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down the debate and preclude republican amendments. that, too, is not fair. so i'm going to make one final
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plea to my colleagues to enter into a fair time agreement that will allow full and open debate, full and open amendments to all the provisions of this bill including don't ask, don't tell, even though i will vote against the amendment to strike don't ask, don't tell provisions from this bill. now is not the time to play politicsimply because an election is looming in a few weeks. again, i call upon the majority leader to work with t republican leaders to negotiate an agreement on the terms of debate for this bill so that we can debate this important defense policy bill this week,
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including the vital issue of don't ask, don't tell. thank fair for us to be using up all of our time in advance. mr. president, this morning a number of republican senators stated that they would support the current filibuster of this bill because they were afraid that if we take up this bill, we're going to have a closed process that would limit their ability to offer amendments. now, the majority leader has addressed this issue. he specifically said last thursday that he's willing to work with republicans on a process that will permit the senate to consider these matters and complete the bill as soon as possible. he's very clear on this thing. he is not trying to prevent other amendments from being offered. however, mr. president, there aren't going to be any amendments -- there's not going to be any opportunity too vote on any amendments unless we get 60 votes to overcome the current fibilityd and proceed to the bill. -- the current filibuster and proceed to the bill. it makes no sense for senators to block all amendments, which is what the effect will be if we don't end this filibuster, to
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deny consideration of this bill so we can consider amendments. it makes no sense to do that under the guise of wanting an open amendment process. we're pea not going to have any amendments unless we can get to this bill, unless we end this filibuster. amendments are appropriate. we've always had amendments on the defense bill. the majority leader assures we're going to do that again, and i would do everything i can to make sure that's true as chairman. so the issue today is not whether or not there's going to be specific amendments in order. it's whether we're going to get to the bill so we can try to consider amendments to the defense authorization bill. there's many amendments that should be considered, and i hope that we cannot continue this filibuster. i hope we can get 60 votes and do the important work of the nation which is to get a defense authorization bill passed after it's been considered. i would yield the balance of my time.
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mr. mccain: how much time do i have? the presiding officer: minutes and 50 seconds. mr. mccain: mr. president, this is obviously an important vote that is coming up. and i repeat, i'm not opposed in principle to bringing up the defense bill and debating it, amending it and voting on t i am not opposed to have full debate on whether to repeal don't ask, don't tell and then allow the senate to legislate. i am opposed to bringing up the defense bill right out in before the defense department has completed its defense bill right now because we need to know the views of the men and women who are serving in the military in uniform. give them a chance to tell us their views, whether you agree to or disagree with the policy, whether you want to keep it or repeal t the senate should not be forced to make this decision now before we've heard from our troops. we've asked for their views, and we should wait to hear from them. and all four service chiefs have
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said the same thing: let's conduct the survey, let's get it dorntion and then act on whether to repeal or not repeal. there's one other aspect of this, mr. president. this is a blatant political ploy in order to try to galvanize the political base of the other side which is facing a losing election. that's why the majority leader said we would take up don't ask, don't tell, take up the "dream" act and then take up the issue of secret holds and then address the other issues after the election. i wonder why the majority leader would have those priorities? in other words, take up those that would be politically beneficial, galvanize its political base as far as the hispanic community is concerned and the gay and lesbian community, and then take up the other issues after -- after the election is over in lame-duck session. i have -- this majority leader
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has invoked -- has filled up the tree and has not allowed debate 40 times -- 40 times -- more than all the other majority leaders ahead -- before -- preceding him. and we need -- and last year the hate crimes bill was arranged in such a way that there would not amendments that were -- that were -- could be proposed by my side of the aisle. so let's vote against cloture, sit down and try to reach some kind of an agreement. let the men and women in the military be heard from. let their leaders go to their men and women who are serving and tell them that we have heard your input before we make this legislative change and stop the cynical manipulation of the men and women in the military in order to get votes on november 2. mr. president, i reserve the balance of my time.
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mr. levin: how much time do i have? the presiding officer: two minutes. mr. levin: i yield the time to the senator connecticut. mr. lieberman: thank senator levin. i rise to oppose the filibuster of the national defense authorization act and to say what is obvious, that there's -- this is a preelection campaign season. there's a lot of politics, partisan politics swirling swir. everything going on is procedural. but there's two things that i know. i want to express them about this vote coming up. one is, we have to proceed to consider the national defense authorization act. if we don't do it today, i hope we'll do it as soon after as we can because our military needs it. they're in imavment without this legislation passing -- they're
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in combat. without this legislation pass, we will not have the increased compensation and benefits for the military and their families. we will not have authorization for critical military construction. we'll not have authorization for acquisition of critical military equipment that our troops need to fight safely on our bafnedz and to remain what -- on our behalf, and to remain what they are, the bravest, most effective fighting force in the world. so it may not be today. but it will be sometime before the end of the year that we've got to take this bill up. it is our national constitutional, moral responsibility. second, and this is a controversial part, of course, i believe that we've got repeal don't does, don't tell. not only because it's not consistent with american values of equal opportunity, of judging people by whether they can do a job or not, not not by their nationality, their religion, their gender, their race or their sexual orientation. can you do a job? and if you can do it, then you can get that job in america.
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and we've got thousands of americans who are patriotic, who want to serve, who happen to be gay or lesbian, and we're telling them, you can't. and not only that, we've kicked out 14,000 of them in the last 17 years under don't ask, don't tell. the presiding officer: the majority time has expired. mr. lieberman: at some point we're going to come to a vote and on don't ask, don't tell. i believe a majority of my colleagues in this chamber -- maybe more than that -- are going do quhai think we need to do, which is to repeal don't don't ask, don't tell. i thank the chair. the presiding officer: the senator froms a has two minutes and 45 seconds. mr. mccain: i just want to emphasize again, mr. president, the statements of the service chiefs. general george casey, "i remain convinced it's critically important to get a better understanding of where our soldiers and families are on this issue and what impacts readiness and unit cohesion might be so i can provide
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informed military advice to the present congress." i believe that repealing the law before the completion of this review will be seen by the men and women of the army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward." admiral roughead. my concern is that legislative changes at this point regardless of the precise language used may cause confusion on the status of the law and the fleet and disrupt the review process itself by leading sailors to question whether their input matters. john conway, "i encourage the congress to let the process the secretary of defense created to run its course." general swartz, "i believe it's important to keep the matter -- the matter of keeping faith with those currently serving in the armed forces that the secretary of defense commission review be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the don't ask, don't tell law." mr. president, let's listen to the people who we've placed in charge of the men and women in the military. this is not the time to move
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forward on this issue, particularly with a political campaign at its highest. so i hope my colleagues will oppose the cloture vote and let's hear a statement in favor of the men and women who are serving in the military.y.y. >> it included ending do not ask do not tell roles. it was four short of the 60 votes needed. here is more senate debate after the vote took place. mr. durbin: mr. president, for those who have been following this vote, this has been an attempt to proceed to the defense authorization bill. it's one of the most important bills that we consider during the course of a year. senator levin of michigan is
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chairman of the armed services committee, and he was prepared to bring that vote to the floor. there was an attempt made by the majority leader, senator reid, to allow three amendments to be considered, three amendments which would be considered before other amendments on the bill. one of the amendments relating to the don't ask, don't tell policy, there is a provision already in the bill which aows after review by the joint chiefs of staff, the president, the department of defense, the possibility of removing this provision from our law. that was one of the amendments. the second amendment related to senate procedure on secret holds, but the third amendment and the one i rise to speak to is the one which became the focal point of this last vote. that amendment related to a measure known as the "dream" act. almost ten years ago, i introduced this bill called the "dream" act. the reason i introduced it was because i felt there was a serious injustice and unfairness going on in america.
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we have within our borders thousands of young people who were brought to the united statesy their parents at an early age. i don' know what it was like in their homes, but there weren't many democratic votes when i was 5 years old as to where we were going to go for vacation. i wenthere i was told. these children followed their parents to america. they came here and became part of america. we made cerin that they had an opportunity for an education and health care. we made certain that they had an environment where they could grow up in this country. and for many of them, it was the only home they ever knew. but because they came to this country with undocumented parents, they were not legal, they were not documented, they couldn't be citizens. that, to me, is a serious injustice. we do not in this country hold
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the crimes and misdeeds of parents against their children. what i have tried to do with the "dream" act is to give these young people a chance, a chance to earn their way to legal status and become part of the only country they have ever known. the "dream" act isn't easy. the "dream" act says if you came here as a child, if you were raised in the united states, good moral character, no criminal record, you graduate from high school, then we give you six years, and in that six-year period of time, you have a chance to do one of two things to become legal. one, serve the united states of america in the military. number two, complete two years of college education. and then we'll give you a chance to come off temporary status and become legal in america. you have to earn your way all the way through, subject to review, examination, all of the
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requirements that should be there before someone gets this chance of a lifetime. well, the republican minority lead came to the floor before this vote, and he offered a unanimous consent request which senator reid objected to, but here's what it said. of all the amendments that you could consider on the defense authorization bill, you cannot consider any amendment that relates to immigration. i know what that was about. the senate knew what that was about. it was an attempt by the republican side of the aisle to make certain that the "dream" act could never be called on the defense authorization bill. it made an empty argument on that side that this "drea act has nothing to do with the defense of the united state it's an empty argument -- mr. reid: would my friend yield for a question? mr. durbin: i would be happy to yield. mr. reid: i say to my friend through the chair, is it not also true that under the terms of the "dream" act, no one becomes a citizen?
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they get a simple green card, is that true? mr. durbin: they reach legal status. they have to make applicationo go beyond that. in this situation, young people, undocumented in the united states whoant to volunteer to serve in our military cannot do it. they are willing to risk their lives for america, and we say no. the secretary of defense knows that's wrong. this morning in a conversation that i had with him in my office over the telephone, he reiterated what he had said to me before: these are the kind of young people we need in america's military, high school graduates from cultural traditions that respect the military, people who are going to make more diversity in our ranks. that's what we need. he knows from a national defense perspective these will be good recruits for our military and will distinguish themselves, serving our country and coming up through the ranks. that's what the "dream" act offered to the defense authorization bill.
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the republican leadership and every republican senator said no. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: would my friend yield for a question? mr. durbin: i would be happy to yield. mr. reid: i say through the chair, are you telling the american people that the secretary of defense, the man chosen by the president of the united states, not only this president but theast president, is in favor of our passing the "dream" act? is that what the senator from illinois is saying? mr. durbin: i would say to the senator from nevada exactly that. the defense department's f.y. 2010-2012 strategic plan for the defense of america specifically includes the "dream" act as a means of meeting the strategic goal a shaping and maintaining a mission-ready, all-volunteer force. in 2007, the deputy under secrety of defense at that time said the "dream" act is very appealing because it would apply to the cream of the crop of student and be goodor readiness. over and over again, the departnt of defense has told us this is an opportunity for
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the young people to serve our nation, for america to be a safer place. i want to say to my friend, the senator from nevada, i told him this story earlier, this young man came this morning to the united states capitol from the city of new york, i say to the presiding officer. he lives in brooklyn. his name is caesar vargas. caesar vargas came to the united states at the age of 5, brought here by his parents from mexico. graduated from the public schools in new york and then went on to graduate college. now, it was more difficult for him because he is undocumented. he could get no federal aid to educion, no pell grants, no student loans. but he made it, he graduated. after 9/11, i would say to the presiding officer he said to us this morning, because of my deep commitment to america, i tried to enlist in the marine corps. i wanted to defend this country after we had been attked by terrorists. he not only tried the marine
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corps, he tried other branches, and repeatedly he w turned down because caesar vargas is undocument. but his dream has n died. now he is a third-year student at the city university of new york law school. he speaks four languages. he said he is studying a fifth, cantonese. he is an exceptionally gifted young man. and do you know what his ambition is? once again, to join the marine corps, to be in the judge advocate general corps, to serve america, a country which he dearly loves. because of this republican decision, procedural decision, to say we couldn't consider the "dream" act, we won't have a chance to vote on this bill at this time, on this important measure which would give caesar rgas and thousands just like him a chance to volunteer to serve america. i would say to my friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle where is the justice in this decision? at least have the courage to let us bring this matter to the floor and stand up and vote no.
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but to hide behind this procedural ruse, this unanimous consent request is totally unfair. it is inconsistent with the spirit and the history of this chamber where we deliberate and debate and vote. but they ran and they hid behind this procedural decision. mr. reid: madam president? would the senator yield just for a brief question? and statement? i want everyone within the sound of my voice to understand how much i appreciate and thousands and thousands of other people appreciate senator durbin's advocacy onhis issue, but i also want everyone within the soundf my voice to know we're going to vote on the "dream" act. it's only a question of when. this is so fair. that's all this is about, it's fairness, basic fairness. i -- i have to say to my friend from illinois, i feel so bad, i have got a stack of letters in my office and the most
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heart-wrenching stories of these dreamers. they are dreamers. but want them to understand this isn't the end of this. we're going to continue to move on. we know we have been blocked procedurally, but this is the first time that we have had our colleagues on the other side of the aisle stand up and defy basic fairness on the "drm" act. they have gone around telling people, yeah, we like it, we like it, but here was their chance. all we wanted to do was bring it to the floor. they wouldn't even let us do that. they didn't have the courage to allow us to have a vote on this. and i want my friend to know how deeply appreciative i am, speaking for thousands and thousands of other people for what you have done on this issue. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from nevada, the majority leader. i will tell him and thoseho are following this debate, some who are in the chamber, in the galleries, i'm sure, are disappointed if not heartbroken at this point. i mentioned caesar vargas who is
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here, gaby pecheko and so many others who have worked so hard for this chance today. my promise to them is this: as long as i can stand behind this desk and grab this microphone and use my power as a united states senator, i will be pushing for this "dream" act. it is my highest priority. it is a matter of simple american justice, and i would hope that 11 republicans who joined us last time will stop cowering in the shadows and come forward and join us in a bipartisan effort and not stop procedurally from even debating and deliberating this critical issue. for those who are so sad today, take heart. tomorrow is another day, and we will be there to fight for you. many others will join us. and don't give up your dream to part of this great nation. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii.
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mr. inouye: just a little step back in history, if i may say so? on december 7, 1941, something terrible happened in hawaii. pearl harbor was bombed by the panese. three weeks later, the govement of the united states declared that all japanese americans, citizens born in the united states of japanese ancestry were to be considered enemy alien. as a result, like those undocumented people, they could not put on the uniform of this land. well, i was 17 at that time, and naturally i resented this because i loved my country and i wanted to put on a uniform to show where my heart stood, but were denied, so we petitioned
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the government and a year later, they said okay, if you wish to volunteer, go ahead. well, to make a long story short, the regiment i served in made up of japanese americans had the highest casualties in europe but the most decorated in the history of the united states. and i think your beneficiaries will do the same. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: let me -- i know the senator from hawaii has to leave. i wish every american could have heard from a hero, not of this body, of this nation and of the world. senator inouye did more than swim against the tide in order to put on the uniform of this country. he had to fight his way into the army. he then became a medal of honor
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winner. highest medal of valor that can be granted was granted, awarded to senator inouye. he gave up more than just a few years of his life. he gave up part of his body for this country. and his eloquence, his passion for proper treatment of people who want to put on the uniform of this nation is extraordinarily powerful, and i only wish that every -- every american could have heard it, and i thank him for that service and for that statement. but i also want to add a thank you to the senator from illinois, and i want to reinforce something that he said by asking him a question. it had too with that unanimous consent request which he referred to. and the way this request was worded, even if -- well, let me back up. we've ard for two days an objection from republicans that there would be nonrelevant
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amendments that would be offered which, of course, are permitted under our rules. as a matter of fact, the senator from arizona has on a number of occasions on this bill offered nonrelevant amendments. but even if that "dream" act amendment of yours were modified so that it only related to young men and women who wanted to go intohe army to serve their country and the educational part of it, as important as that is, if that were left out, even if the amendment were desned so that it could be referred to the armed services committee because it would be defense related, even if u could design an amendment like that, under this unanous consent agreement, no amendment rated to immigration would be in order during those first amendment. now, is that not singling out
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immigration, saying, despite all of the protestations we heard here about wanting to make sure that amendments were relevant -- despite the history that that's not requirednder our rules -- but that's the protestations we heard over the last two days. we want relevant amendment, and the "dream" act isn't relevant. under this unanimous consent, even if the "dream" act were modified so that it might be within the jurisdiction of the armed services committee because it would be focused on service in the armed forces, under this amendment, no amendment relating to immigration would be in order during those amendments. is that correct? mr. duin: i reply to the senator from michigan through the chair, and i thank him for this question, just as the door was closed on dan inouye of hawaii when, as a japanese-american, he wanted to serve his country, the unanimous consent request from the republicaneader closed the
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door to anyone who wished to serve this country if it involved the issue of immigration. it had one intent -- stop the "dream" act, stop these young people from being given a cnce to serve their nation. that is clearly the intent, and, unfortunately, the partisan roll call that followed is evidence that that was the strategy. just as dan inouye prevailed and persisted and not only served his country admirably but with the highest level of valor, i am convinced that many of the young people who leave heartbroken today by this vote will get their chance someday, just as you, did senor, and they will serve this country with distinction and they will lead this nation, as you have led us in the united states senate. >> you are watching public affairs programming. a department of transportation
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form on driving while distracted. then the white house medal of honor ceremony. them president obama's choice to head the marine corps, a general james amos. >> you do not get to choose the motives. when it comes your way, all you get to choose is what you do when it does. >> nick clegg defense's decision to form a coalition. edison denied it 9:00 on c-span. -- it is sunday night at 9:00 on c-span. >> transportation secretary ray lahood talks about efforts at the national and local level to reduce dangerous driving habits. this is 30 minutes. > [applause]
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>> good morning. what did creek gathering. thank you also much for being here. i'll want to say a special word of thanks to president obama for the privilege that he has given me to serve in the stock and the opportunity to focus on in issue that i have become passionate about. i cannot do without president obama's leadership in giving me this opportunity. i want to think secretary still lease update hilda solis. i know when you heard about the city wanted to be here. we are grateful for that. we are it forward to your remarks.
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a special hello to the people who are participating remotely onkine, particularly the students. i want to think the talented staff at d.o.t. for those of you have not had the opportunity to meet our staff, we have very gifted people, people who have come here for the right reasons, to carry out the president's agenda and to really step up and leave the department in a way that people have not seen at the department of transportation. i'm grateful to all our staff who are here for your leadership. i welcome everyone to the second nationals distracted driving summit. it is hard to believe a year has passed since the first came
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together and began the work of addressing america's distracted driving crisis but a it is hard to believe lea come so far so fast in our campaign. this has become a personal crusade. it started about a year ago. it is during and after last year's distracted driving some a proummit. . . washington to tell their stories. more than 300 people came and listened. many of you were in that audience last year, and we are delighted you came back. thousands participated over the internet, which is happening right now. while it is one thing to hear from researchers, academics, a law-enforcement officials, it is another to hear from the parents, children and siblings of people who are -- of people
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who were killed. i spent time with three of those people. we were scheduled to participate in a cable news program. we had a long discussion before the program started. during that conversation, jennifer, dave and judy convince me that we should create a group like mothers against drunk driving. the idea would be a national advocacy group devoted to ending distracted driving. that was born in the studios of cnn. during the year since, jennifer, dave, judy and other members have travelled the country doing important and inspiring work, putting a human face on a terrible problem.
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at last year's summit, we learned that distracted driving is an epidemic. it is an epidemic because everyone has a cell phone, and everyone thinks they can use it while driving. you all know this. if i asked for a show of hands -- which i am not going to do [laughter] -- i know that everyone of you has a self done. and i also know that everyone has used it while driving. do not deny it. we are hooked on it. that is why it is an epidemic. there is no bigger distraction than people on a cell phone or people texting and driving. there is not. you cannot drive safely doing that. i want to say a special word of thanks to the chief of police of washington, d.c. she came to visit me recently about some safety issues around our
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department. i asked her if she would post some people across the street. the sea has a very good law on texting and private -- d.c. has a very collage on texting and driving and cell phone use. so, when you came in here this morning, you might have seen some people issuing tickets. i want to say a special word of thanks to the d.c. police chief for her efforts to begin to change the kind of danger is bigger than has taken place too long in communities all over america, but in particular in washington, d.c. so, every time someone takes their focus off the road, even if it is just for a minute, they put their lives and the lives of others in danger. distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible, and in a split second, it consequences can be
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devastating. there is no call or e-mail so important that it cannot wait. my advice to people is, buckle up, which 85% of the people do today, thanks to work we did for a long time on in the "click it short ticket" program. so, my advice to people is buckle up and put yourself on in the glove compartment. texting or talking on the self on has resulted in at 500 deaths and four hundred 50,000 injuries in 2009. we believe this has just been the tip of the iceberg, because many police reports do not include whether or not texting or talking on the phone was a distraction in an accident. there are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, men and women in this audience to have
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planned funerals who will tell you exactly what is at stake. last night i met with the families who are participating in the press conference today to tell their heartbreaking stories. i am grateful to them. what i said to them was, it is not about statistics. it is about the people behind the statistics. that is what it is about. so, i would like for those people who have come here today to tell their stories, to please stand and be recognized. [applause] so, the situation is not without hope's. we have seen that drivers can and do change their behavior is.
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for example, we told americans get -- we have reminded americans that if they are over the influence -- under the influence, they will be arrested. we have seen drunken-driving fatalities degrees. 10 years ago, nobody was wearing their seat belt. nobody wanted to wear a seat belt. today, 85% of the people the get in a car where a seat belt. you know as well as i do, people said we will never get drunk drivers off the road. in the old days, our friends in law enforcement would call a cab, get somebody a ride tom, let them drive tom. today, people are arrested, put in jail for drunk driving, and they lose their driving
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privileges. we are right at the starting gate on distracted driving. if we stop for a moment and ask why, we see the ingredients for a recipe that will prove effective against distracted driving. we need tough, effective laws and good enforcement. we need public education. but most of all, we need personal responsibility. each one of us needs to take personal responsibility. buckle up. but the cell phone or blackberry in the glove compartment. -- put the cell phone or blackberry in the glove compartment. today, we are announcing three new actions consistent with this formula. one, we are submitting a proposal to ban a truck drivers from texting while on at the job. we proposed a rule to restrict train drivers from using cell phones or other electronic devices while in the driver's seat. today that proposal also becomes
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a final regulation. you know about that in california. 28 people were killed because a train driver was texting and driving. there is no excuse for that. maybe some of you saw the bus driver who was reading his amazon kindle while waiting -- while driving the bus, and somebody had the good sense to take a picture with their self some, and a bad driver lost his job. he was -- take a picture with phone, and that the driver lost his job. third, we are proposing to ban texting while driving a truck carrying hazardous materials. among the important success stories of last year are the thousands of u.s. companies that
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have imposed distracted driving policies of their own. one partner in this effort is the network of employers for traffic safety, an alliance of major corporations, including many on the court and 500 list. this has been established for 20 years. they are driven by the idea that corporate cellphone policies are a central pieces of -- is essential pieces of employee safety equipment. they will hold a drive safely work week during which they will remind businesses about the importance of safe driving. i am also pleased to announce some exciting news. in advance of this summit, we surveyed american businesses about distracted driving policies. we discovered that 1600
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organizations, covering approximately 10.5 million workers across the country, have already adopted such policies, and we convinced 550 more companies, covering 1.5 million more employees, to adopt similar measures during the past year. this is not a bad step toward our goal. every employer in the the country should discourage workers from texting or talking on the telephone while driving. from other private sector friends, whether in the wireless industry, the insurance industry or the automobile industry, we have seen a number of constructive measures. the wireless association and individual insurance companies have been vocal in warning the public not to be distracted behind the wheel. that is a start and we are grateful. of the company's support laws that ban drivers from talking or texting while driving.
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the public is safer for it. but friends are honest with each other, and i think it is fair to say that we must all go further. in recent days and weeks, we have seen a news stories about carmakers' adding technology in vehicles that lets drivers update facebook, a surf the web, or do any other number of things instead of safe driving. facts are facts. features that apple driver's hands, eyes at -- features that attract driver's hands, eyes and attention away from the road are dangerous. safetyr, let's put before entertainment. let's ensure that advances and innovation go hand in hand -- hand in hand with progress the
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decreases distraction related deaths and injuries. still, laws, guidelines, rules and regulations do little good if we do not enforce them, so we at d.o.t. are running two pilot programs, one in connecticut and the other in the new york. we are testing whether high- visibility enforcement can change driver behavior. the early data shows that it works. according to new n.h.t.s.a. research available today, hand- held cell phone use has dropped 56% in connecticut and 38% in new york. texting has dropped in both places as well. there has been a groundswell of grassroots support for our cause. groups of like mom's spread the
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message far and wide that the only safe way to get from one place to another is to hang up and drive. the entertainment industry is leading the charge also. during the national football league preseason, espn plastered the message, "stop distracted driving," on the side of their tour bus, which they drove 15,000 miles from training camp to training camp. the jaundice and brothers and the american title winner participated in allstate -- the jonas brothers and american idol winner participated in an allstate project. oprah winfrey devoted an entire television show to stopping texting while driving.
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at the same time as americans called for action, government took notice. last year alone, legislatures in 43 states considered more than two hundred distracted driving bills. during 2010, 12 state outlawed texting behind the wheel, and hand-held cell phone use. as i said, the president of the united states prohibit all federal employees -- a four million person work force at -- from texting while driving. even the united nations got in the game. last spring, i stood with the secretary general at un headquarters along with our great un ambassador as he imposed a directive banning the u. n's 40,000 employees from text messaging while operating vehicles on official business.
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in all of these ways, the last year has been very positive. i cannot think of another safety issue in american history that has gained so much traction in such a short period of time. we still have not solved the problem, not by a long shot. and you do not need to take my word for it. we have several people with us today to have suffered indirectly as a result of distracted driving, and i thank them again for joining us, for turning the worst moments of their lives into solving and saving the lives of others. i cannot do justice to all of the stories, but with your permission i would like to tell a few. robert and i leaned from santa maria california lost their 19 -- robert and eileen from santa maria, calif., lost their 19-
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year-old son. he was riding his bike in the middle of the day when a young woman in a pickup truck struck him. she was texting in the driver's seat. a miss johnson from-belt -- from ash built -- amos johnson from asheville, n.c., lost his daughter when she was hit head- on by a distracted drivers. she was texting at the time of the crash. there is a couple here from maryland. in two thousand eight -- in 20 they left their florida, to go to -- they left their florida
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house to go to a wedding planners office. they dreamed of a fairy tale wedding at disney world. on the way, they stopped at a traffic light. eight tractor truck driver plowed into the back of their car. it set off a chain reaction that left other and another woman dead. the driver was texting behind the wheel. these people came from all parts of the country. they have bright futures. they are the kind of kids that every parent hopes for. they are the kind of parent that every child the doors, and in inherit too short lives how many people need to die on our watch, not because of evil or malice, but because of
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carelessness and very dangerous behavior? during this last year, many of you have been part of a rising chorus shouting enough. today we gather and we will take measure as to how far we have come. and the distance we have yet to travel. share with you are doing, share with you have learned, ask questions, listen to new ideas, come up with some new ideas of your own, but no this -- we are in this together. we will solve this together. we will not let up till distracted driving is the behavior of the past. i am very grateful to all of you for being here, for being part of our team. shoulder to shout her -- shoulder, arm in arm, we will
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conquer this distracted driving problem. thank you all very much. [applause] >> thank you, mr. secretary. it is such an honor and my great fortune to follow secretary ray lahood who has all of you just heard inspires all of us and all of the nation's drivers to take personal responsibility every minute that they are operating on the highways. for the administration, that means the 4 million commercial drivers and half a million his truck and bus companies across the nation and how they operate in the workplace. if you heard the secretary reference, our administration employs across the country -- employees have developed from
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concept to final rule a ban on texting for all commercial vehicle operators in less than a year. his leadership is inspiring. as we consider how to promote safety among all drivers, for many of us in the department of transportation, it is safety in the workplace. for a truckdriver, their workplace is the individual cab of the truck, hauling 80,000 pounds of the nation's roadways. for the bus operator, it may be a transit operation, moving our schoolchildren, moving people to destinations like disney world and places across the country. those workplaces have to be saved, keeping both hands on the wheel, just hang up and drive. it is particularly great have the next speaker here. hilda solis, giving recognition that the transportation workers
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and those employees across the workplaces and less conventional workplaces that we recognize the importance of safe operations in even less conventional workplaces more than ever. these are occupations the keep our neck -- nation moving, our economy driving, it is our job to keep them safe. as i mentioned, secretary lahood is inspiring on those who work in transportation. our next baker it is equally inspiring to our nation's workers into the 17,000 employees of the u.s. department of labour. secretary hilda solis is a champion for workers' families and workers rights. she is a travel agent, the first to go to college and her family, the first to earn a graduate degree, the first let teaneck elected to the state senate in california. the first latina in the president's cabinet.
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her passion for workplace safety runs deep. secretary so les's his father bought for safety at a battery recycling plant where he worked. she brings the same values and passions to the department of labour. her mother was equally committed. secretary so is's mother was an immigrant from nicaragua, who spent 10 hours a day adequate factory where she worked and was equally outspoken about working conditions. prior to her confirmation as labor secretary, she represented the 32nd congressional district in california, a position she held for four terms. also on nationally recognized leader on the environment, secretary sully's became the first woman to receive the john f. kennedy profile in courage award for her pioneering work on environmental justice is used as a state legislator. please join me in welcoming a trailblazer, a champion of
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workplace safety, and for our workers across the nation, labor secretary hilda solis. and his 90. -- he thank you. [applause] >> the morning to all of you. it is a real pleasure to be with you and especially one of my good friends who i shared with in the house prior to coming into the cabinet, i love hearing him. many millions of people heard him aside over the house of representatives and we became good friends when i served there. as a rookie coming in, he was always a kind gentlemen, very helpful in assisting new members coming into the house. i have very good memories of the work that he did back in the house. and now of course, we are here.
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i am labor secretary, charged with protecting american workers rise, making sure that there were a lesser state, from ensuring the safety of construction workers to medical professionals, from our nation's miners to line codes, our labor laws protect everyone in the workplace. what we experience fewer fatalities today, the leading cause year after year our motor vehicle crashes. a distracted driving dramatically increases the risk of such crashes. this is why the department of labor use occupational health safety administration is partnering with the department of transportation to combat distracted driving. to reduce this deadly toll, we will focus on texting while driving, which is a subject of the executive order signed by president obama last year for federal employees.
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it is a subject of rulemaking. we call upon all employers to prohibit any work policy or practice that requires or encourages workers to text while driving. the osha act is clear. employers must provide a workplace free of serious recognized hazard. it is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of motor vehicle industry -- injury or fatality. if it is imperative that employers eliminate financial or other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving. employers to require it this fall who organize work so that doing so is a practical necessity even if not of a formal requirement by late the osha act. furthermore, we call upon all employers to follow the lead of president obama, secretary lahood, and 30 state laws that protect -- prohibit drivers from
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texting, to prevent employees from texting while driving to work. it is the top priority at the department of labour. that is what osha -- that is why osha is launching a campaign for the following. calling on employers to prevent occupational lead related occupational driving, with a special focus on preventing texting while driving. our web site will carry on an open letter to employers. we will showcase model employee practices to communicate our message. will forge alliances with the national safety council and other key organizations to help with the reach out to employers, especially small employers, to combat distracted driving and pretend that texting while driving. we will listen that this --
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place a special emphasis on young workers. we will work with our alliance partners, and an osha receives a credible complaint, or organizes works of the texting is a practical necessity, leave will investigate, and where necessary issue a citation and penalty to in that practice. i also ask my division to examine what additional protections can be implemented to ensure that young workers are not subject to distracted unspoiled driving on the job or operating equipment. we cannot put a price on the health and safety of a child. employers have a legal and moral responsibility to protect their workers who ultimately are america's most important asset. our laws are designed specifically to level the playing field for all businesses ensure that workers are kept out of harm's way. by prohibiting texting while driving, we are working to
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ensure that workers are safe on the road in that their return home safely at the end of their shift. the bottom line is -- no paycheck is worth the life. thank you very much, and a special salute to the families that are here. [applause] >> on tomorrow morning's washington journal, we will talk about credit card fees and the november elections. after that, a look at the u.s. foster care system. i represented a -- a
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representative of posture media care jointness. later, the fbi director and homeland security secretary testify about terrorist threats. live coverage begins at 10:00 eastern. >> this weekend, american history tv, zero rare look at the personal belongings of george washington and what they reveal about the father of our country. if a special program on the music of curtis mayfield. and the leadership style of winston churchill and how it compares to leaders today. 48 hours of people and events telling the american story, also began come -- all c-span every weekend. >> now all white house medal of honor ceremony for chief master sergeant richard etchberger. he received the nation's highest honor for his actions in combat in 1968 in the country of laos
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and was killed in combat. his son spoke briefly with reporters afterwards. this is 25 minutes. >> i thank you for that wonderful and vacation. of all the military decorations that our nation can bestow, the highest is the medal of honor. it is awarded for conspicuous gallantry, for risking one's life in action, for serving above and beyond the call of duty. to date we present the medal of honor to an american who
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displayed such gallantry more than four decades ago. chief master sergeant richard l. etchberger. this medal reflects the gratitude of an entire nation. we are also joined by vice president biden and members of congress, including congressman earl pomeroy, and from chief etchberger certification's home state of pennsylvania, congressman tim holden. we're joined by leaders from across my administration, including secretary of veterans affairs ric shinseki, secretary of defense robert gates, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general jim cartwright, and leaders from across our armed services, including air force secretary michael donley and chief of staff general norton schwartz. i want to a knowledge a group of americans who understand the
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valor we recognize today, because they displayed it themselves -- members of the medal of honor society. most of all, we welcome dick etchberger's friends and family, especially his brother robert, and dick's three sons, steve, richard, and cory. for the etchberger family, this is a day more than 40 years in the making. cory was just nine years old, but he can still remember that winter in 1968 when he, his brothers, and his mom were escorted to the pentagon. the war in vietnam was still raging. dick etchberger had given his life earlier that year. now his family was being welcomed by the air force chief of staff. in a small, private ceremony,
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dick was recognized with the highest honor that the air force can give -- the air force cross. these three sons were told that their dad was a hero, that he had died while saving his fellow airmen. but they were not told much else. their fathers work was classified, and for years that is all they really knew. then nearly two decades later, the phone rang. it was the air force and their father's mission was finally being to classified. that is when they learn the true, that their father had given his life not in vietnam, but in late -- in neighboring laos. that is when they began to learn the true measure of their father's heroism. dick etchberger was a radar technician and he had been hand- picked for a secret assignment. with a small team of men, he served at the summit of one of the tallest mountains in laos, more than a mile high, literally
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above the clouds. the man the tiny radar station guiding american pilots in the air campaign against north vietnam. dick and his crew believed that they could help turn the tide of the war, perhaps even end it. and that is why north vietnam -- north vietnamese forces were determined to shut its debt. they set their planes to strafe the americans as they worked. they moved in their troops. eventually dick and his team could look through their binoculars and see that their mountain was surrounded by thousands of north vietnamese troops. dick and his crew at that point had a decision to make -- asked to be evacuated or continue the mission for another day. they believed that no one could possibly scale the mountain cliffs, and they believed in their work. said the state. they continued their mission. there were 19 americans on the
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mountain that evening. when their shift was over, dick and his four men moved down to a small, rocky ledge on a safer side of the mountain. and then during the night, the enemy attacked. somehow all fighters scaled the cliffs and overran the summit. down the side of the mountain, dick and his men were now trapped on that ledge. the enemy lobbed down grenade after grenade, hour after hour. dick and his men would grab those grenades and throw them back, or kick them into the valley below. but the grenades kept coming. one airman was killed, and then another. a third airman was wounded, and then another. eventually, dick was the only man standing. as a technician, he had no formal combat training. in fact, he had only recently
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been issued a rifle. the dick etchberger or was the very definition of an nco -- a leader determined to take care of his men. when the enemy started moving down the rocks, dick fought them off. when it looked like the ledge would be overrun, he called for air strikes, within yards of his own position, shaking the mountain and clearing the way for a rescue. and in the morning light, an american helicopter came into view. richard etchberger lived the airman's creed -- to never leave an airman behind, to never falter, to never fail. so as the helicopter hovered above and lowered its sling, dick lahood -- dick loaded his wounded men one by one each time exposing his to help to enemy fire. and when another airman suddenly rushed for after eluding the enemy all night, dick loaded him, too, and finally himself.
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they had made it off the mountain. that is when it happened. the helicopter began to peel away. a burst of gunfire erupted below. dick was wounded. by the time they landed at the nearest base, he was gone. of those 19 men on the mountain that night, only seven made it out alive. three of them owed their lives to the actions of dick etchberger. today we're honored to be joined by one of them, mr. john daniel. among the few who knew of dick's actions, there was a belief that his valor warranted our nation's highest military honor. but his mission had been a secret. that's how it stayed for those many years. when their fathers mission was finally declassified, these three sons learned something
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else. it turned out that their mother had known about its work all along. but she had been sworn to secrecy. she kept that promise to her husband and her country all those years, not even telling her own sons. so today is also a tribute to catherine etchberger, and a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our military spouses make on behalf of our nation. this story might have ended there, with a finely -- a family finally knowing the truth. and for another two decades, it did. but today marks another chapter in a larger story of our nation finally honoring that bet -- that generation of vietnam veterans who served with dedication and courage but all too often were shunned when they came home, which was a disgrace that must never happen again. a few years ago, an airman who
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never even knew dick etchberger read about his heroism and felt he deserved something more. so he wrote his congressman, who made it his mission to get this done. today we thank that airman, retired master sergeant robert dilley, and that congressman, earl pomeroy, who along with congressman holden made this day possible. sadly, catherine did not live to see this moment. but today steve and richard and cory -- today your nation finally acknowledges and fully honors your father's bravery. even though it has been 42 years, it is never too late to do the right thing. and it is never too late to pay tribute to our vietnam veterans and their families. in recent years, dick's story has become known and air force bases have honored him with streets and buildings in his
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name. and at the base where he trained so long ago in barksdale, louisiana, there is a granite monument with an empty space next to his name, and that space can finally be etched with the words "medal of honor." but the greatest minorca -- but the greatest memorial of all to dick etchberger is the spirit that we feel here today, the love that inspired him to serve -- love for his country and love for his family. and most eloquent -- the most eloquent expression of that devotion are the words that he wrote himself to a friend back home just months before he gave his life to our nation. i hate to be away from home -- he wrote from that small base above the clouds -- but i believe in the job. he said, it is the most challenging job i will ever have in my life.
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and then he added, i love it. our nation endures because there are patriots like chief master sergeant richard etchberger, and our troops who are serving as we speak, who love this nation and defend it. their legacy lives on because their families and fellow citizens preserve it. and as americans, we remain worthy of their example only so long as we honor it -- not merely with the medals that we present, but by remaining true to the values and freedoms for which they fight. so please join me in welcoming steve, richard, and cory for the reading of the citation. [applause]
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>> the president of the united states of america authorized by act of congress, march 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of the congress the medal of honor to chief master sergeant richard l. etchberger for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. chief master sergeant richard etchberger distinguished himself
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by extraordinary heroism on march 11, 1968, in the country of laos, while attack -- while assigned a ground radar superintendent, attachment one, 10 43rd radar evaluation squadron. on that day, chief etchberger and his team of technicians were manning a top-secret defensive position when the base was overrun by an enemy ground force. receiving sustained and withering artillery attacks directly upon his unit position, his entire crew lay dead or severely wounded. despite having received little or no combat training, chief etchberger single-handedly held off the enemy with an in-16, while simultaneously directing air strikes into the area and calling for air rescue. if because of his fierce defense and heroic and selfless actions, he was able to deny the enemy access to his position and save the lives of his remaining crew. with the arrival of the rescue aircraft, chief etchberger without hesitation repeatedly
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and deliberately risked his own life, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, in order to place three surviving wounded comrades into rescue slings hanging from the hovering helicopter waiting to airlift them to safety. with his remaining crew safely aboard, chief etchberger finally climbed into an evacuation sling himself, only to be fatally wounded by enemy ground fire as he was being raised into the aircraft. chief etchberger's bravery and determination in the face of persistent enemy fire and overwhelming odds are in keeping with a high standards of performance and traditions of military service. chief etchberger's gallantry, self sacrifice, and profound concern for his fellow men at risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, reflect the highest credit upon himself and the united states air force.
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[applause] >> let us pray. and now, o lord, as we close the ceremony, and our hearts have been stirred by the account of chief etchberger's story of bravery and sacrifice, we hope that we may respond with a renewed devotion to the cause of
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peace and freedom. we also pray for your blessing and protection to be upon america's sons and daughters who stand in harm's way today and for their loved ones to patiently wait. may our efforts, dear lord, lead to a more secure and prosperous world, all world in which all people will one day live in harmony with you and one another. amen and amen. >> thank you very much, everyone. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
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>> do you still feel an
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attachment to the air force? >> i do. i grew up as an air force brat. when my dad was killed, we were separated from the air force jet that time. but when the initial information came out on my father's mission, the air force started to bring us back into the fold by naming facilities and streets after him. since that time, we have had some kind of air force ceremony that we go to. not only do we go and see them honor our father, we meet air man and talk about his life beyond the military. we have really been welcomed back as a family, my brothers and night, into the air force family. >> can you tell us about what this medal of honor means for
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you and your brothers and the rest of your family, coming after some many years? >> i think first off, for me, my dad was a really great dad beyond agreed air force person. the missions that he went on over his time in the military included all lot of other times that he was gone and we did not know what he was doing. we did not talk about that because we were and air force family. when this all came out, initially we were told that he had been killed in a helicopter crash. ms. benson time over the pentagon later that year after he was killed. later on we found out exactly what he had done. it was an emotional time, of course.
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we knew that he with that kind of person. when i was up there accepting that medal of honor, again a very emotional time. i was thinking back to the days when dad would say to me, whenever i would go somewhere, you're an expert in your part of the air force. that is what i thought. to date. that helped me up there. >> if your father were here today, what you think you would say? >> my dad would be very humble about this. he impressed us as kid, when you have a job to do, he was that kind of person. a lot of the things that we did, it was very particular about. he would be here saying, alice is doing my job.
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his men.r i we were right. during the vietnam war, and he was very much giving. i think it would be humbled but proud of his achievement. >> we were told that he had very little combat training. he had just learned that a use a weapon. >> i talked to somebody yesterday about that. i have never seen my dad picked up a weapon in my young years they spent with him. certainly that of that mountain was impregnable, and that thought they had the protection from some of the local folks. again, i think he would do exactly what he did -- grabbed a gun and make it work.
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the way it shaped by light is that i have an 11-year-old daughter. my mom passed away before i had my daughter. i look back at the wave my dad raised me and when my grandparents raised my father as a model for the way i want to raise my daughter. the things that are important our family, trying to do the right thing, trying to build character. i'm trying to pass that on and carry that direction. >> last question. >> the senate right now is voting on the don't ask, don't tell policy. the you are your family have any thoughts on that? >> no, not at this time. >> i underestimated how big the job was. i had been the minority whip, not even the minority leader. i went from 90 whip until stiff. the house. from the minority party to
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leading a wave of 9 million additional votes, the biggest one-party increase in american history. >> of his tenure as house speaker, the state of american politics today, and a possible 2012 presidential bid sunday on c-span. >> now the senate armed services committee looks at the nomination of james amos to be commandant of the marine corps. he is a career jet pilot who would become the first aviator to all the top marine corps posts. if confirmed, he would replace james conway his tenure ends later in the fall. this is two hours. >> good morning, everybody. today the committee meets to consider the nomination of
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james amos to be the next commandant of the marine corps. he has a long history in military service and a distinguished history, and now you are being asked to add to that service. we're grateful for that and your willingness to do so. we welcome you and your family to today's hearing. senior military officials put in long hours every day, 24/7, and we appreciate this -- the sacrifices that our nominees and their families are willing to make for their country. we know that their families make any sacrifices to support those efforts, so we think your family who are supporting you in your service. we also want you to extend our heartfelt thanks to the men and women of the marine corps who are serving so ably and so i get leak in harm's way around the world, in afghanistan and of course, but not just in afghanistan.
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if confirmed, general amos will assume leadership of the marine corps at a difficult time. foremost among concerns is that the marine corps has to strain mightily to support ongoing operations in afghanistan in support of our overall efforts there. and in other places around the world. the marine corps is facing the prospects of moving operations from okinawa to qualm -- guam to support the government to government agreement with the japanese regarding the long-term presence of marine corps forces in the western pacific. even at this date, there are concerns about the implementation of this agreement, how much will cause, and the potential disruption to or -- to marine corps operating forces. in the spring of 2010, secretary gates made several public statements in which he appeared to question the need for and the
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size of the navy's and devious fleet in future defense plans and budgets. -- amphibious fleet in future defense and plan and budgets. since that time, he is also questioned the need for the expeditionary fighter vehicle in the face of anti-access strategies of potential adversaries. the current lift capability of the navy is for slightly more than 2 meb's, which contain about 6 the scions. some argue that that is too small force to operate against a major adversary. they argue that this means that the nation is only really prepared the use the marine corps and amphibious shipping to conduct forcible entry operations against countries of lesser capability, and the extra ability of an efv to stand off farther from the beach is not needed. there is little room to breathe
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on the aviation front, either. they're well known concerns about overall naval aviation and potential sources of strike fighter aircraft, a problem that the marine share with the other services in the department of the navy. there are well-publicized problems in the joint strike fighter program, the jsf program, if which causes concerns about the marine corps's current plans to achieve an initial operational capability for the jsf in calendar year 2012, while the other services have delayed their ioc's by a couple of years. we look forward to your testimony on these and other foreign issues. i now call on senator mccain for his statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i join you in congratulating general amos on his nomination to be the 35 common data of the marine corps and in welcoming his family and friends.
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i thank him for his service in his willingness to be serving in this critical importance of leadership position. if confirmed, general amos will of thefirst commandant marine corps not from the infantry ranks. though every marine is a rifleman, his additional proficiency as a naval aviator can only be viewed positively, affording him an advantage. general amos is well qualified to succeed general conway as the next, a dent -- commandant. the marine corps today faces many challenges, including providing marines deployed in combat in afghanistan with everything they need to fight and win, ensuring the well being of wounded warriors and marines and their families, and recapitalizing key weapon systems and preparing for future on natural critic national security demands in a constrained budgetary environment. you have been fully engaged a


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